Veni Vidi Vino ! That was us when we packed our bags on the first day of February and headed straight to Nashik for the 13th Edition of the Sula Wine Fest held at Sula vineyards. We hopped on a plane from Bangalore to Mumbai and headed on a 3 hour drive To Nashik, among scenic hills and plains.
Why Is the Sula Wine Fest Held At Nashik?
Out of the 46 wineries in India, Nashik alone is said to house 22 of them and is rightfully called “The Wine Capital of India”. Nashik’s hilly terrain, inverse climatic conditions with warm days and cool nights, and red laterite soil is ideal for growing grapes with the characteristic flavour of the Nashik valley, and it reportedly produces 10,000 tonnes of grapes per year!
The largest vineyard in Nashik is the Sula Vineyards and it grows a wide variety of grapes like Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet, Chardonnay and Merlot ! In the harvest season, Nashik is home to several wine festivals, the grandest among them being the Sula Wine Fest.
By the time we reached Nashik we were right on time for the opening of the fest and were absolutely famished!(Okay fine, we were a little too early, and were waiting like zombies in the hot sun for them to open the gates already!)
What wines did we drink At Sula Wine Fest?
Once they were finally opened,We rushed in and got right down to business. We had our first drink which was a refreshing crisp sparkling wine – The Sula Brut,which is one of the few “Méthode Champenoise” wines in the world to be crafted from five different grapes, resulting in something spectacular. It’s smooth, buttery flavor, coupled with its tickling bubbles, brought us right back to life. I was of no doubt then, when a friend of mine, recently, befittingly stated that it is indeed the best Indian bubbly!
We then scooted towards the Wine Tasting Master Class where we tasted 6 of the best Sula wines and were educated about the grapes that went into them. The Wines we tasted were the :-
- Sula Brut(Yes, once more, I can never get tired of this one)
- Sula Riesling – A white wine, a fraction of which is aged in French oak, has aromas of honey and melon
- Sula Sauvignon Blanc – A dry, crisp wine which exudes aromas of fresh grass and green peppers
- Sula Cabernet Shiraz – A medium – bodied red wine, which smells of blueberries and tastes of jammy fruit
- Sula Dindori Reserve Shiraz – A full – bodied red wine with aromas of red cherries and lastly, a dessert wine,
- Sula Late Harvest Chenin Blanc, which is a sweet wine, with aromas of tropical fruit and mangoes.
Sula Brut and Sula Dindori Reserve Shiraz were my personal favourites.
Did we grape stomp At Sula Fest?
When we were all bubbly(Yes, I mean tipsy) and in the mood for fun, We jumped into a giant barrel of grapes and stomped all over them with our feet, getting a beautiful wine spa bonanza. Grape Stomping was once rampant in the process of winemaking, but with the advent of mechanized methods, it now survives only for recreational(yay!) purposes. It’s also interesting to know that in the earlier times, one’s feet had to meet certain criteria to be a grape stomper and stomping grapes with your feet is sanitary, thanks to the strong balance of acid, sugar and alcohol that prohibits human pathogens from surviving in wine!
After thoroughly washing our feet and getting cleaned up, we headed off to the Amphitheater where we unleashed our energy dancing to the chirpy tunes of a lot of international bands. We also located the Sula Flea Market and shopped till we dropped! I ended up with a paraphernalia of goodies like witty wine coasters, Wine cork keychains, Sula magnets and a beautiful wine bottle shaped case with wine accessories!
Where did we stay at Sula Wine Fest?
We ended the night at the vineyards, by camping along a lake in Tent city, which was an initiative by their partner – Lets camp out. The night was icy cold, and unfortunately no amount of wine, seemed to warm anybody up! Luckily, we had a huge bonfire set up and a lot of warm music vibes and people. Getting through the icy temperatures, was challenging nonetheless, but once the morning sun broke through the sky, it was pleasantly warm once again and we woke up with a radiant glow that only wine can give! Cheers to a fine wine holiday!